Petrified Forest National Park

March 14, 2011  •  Leave a Comment

The third stop along the Northeastern Arizona marathon trip was to Petrified Forest National Park.  The best way to describe this place is desolate beauty.  The parks service calls it a "Tapestry of Time".  The archeological history at this place is just amazing!

What is now an arid desert nearly devoid of vegetation was once (over 225 million years ago) a wet tropical rainforest with dinosaurs, giant conifers, and huge lakes and rivers.  Over time, with continental drift and the climate change that came along with it, the area began to dry out.  When the trees fell some of them fell into the rivers and lakes and were covered with sediment containing silica from volcanic ash.  The silica crystalized and replaced the wood of the trees into solid rock, preserving the trees for eternity.  A delicate combination of environmental conditions allowed me to hike around the area and actually touch 225 million year old trees!  It also provides an other-worldly landscape that is ripe for photographs.  Check these out...

Blue Mesa in Petrified ForestBlue Mesa in Petrified Forest Petrified Forest National ParkPetrified Forest National Park Petrified Forest National ParkPetrified Forest National Park

Blue Mesa in Petrified ForestBlue Mesa in Petrified Forest

Native Americans called the Petrified Forest home in the 14th century.  Evidence of their existence is present at a special place called Newspaper Rock, where they communicated with one another and passed their moments on to us through rock carvings called petroglyphs.  Pretty cool stuff and some amazing history!

Newspaper Rock in Petrified ForestNewspaper Rock in Petrified Forest

Although many would label the Petrified Forest as desolate and somewhat boring, to me it is full of adventure stories and unique photo opportunities.  I had visited the park a couple of times and will go back many more times in the coming years.  Enjoy!


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